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A Clockwork Vandy: UMass

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You could just read the ESPN gamelog, but why do that when you can get that retro charm of my "live" suffering.

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

I might be 5 drinks in before even starting this game... thanks to the BoozeFight between me and VU04 that I did before this.  The good news for me is I remember we won this game.  The bad news is I remember that we barely deserved it.  The other good news for people sensitive to my writing is that I probably won't swear as much.  Probably.

1st Quarter

Mason starts game with actually fired up talk to guys.  I have to say, despite our well-founded issues with his press relations, he definitely seems to be good at talking to the players.  Which is probably all that matters.

Vanderbilt Ball, 4th and 8, VANDY 27, ~13:20, No Score

Our WRs are well covered.  There's no separation.  Here's the difference though between Freebeck and Rivers: Rivers would have chest passed futility.  Freebeck at least isn't just giving the ball away.

UMass Ball, 3rd and 4, VANDY 13, ~8:00, No Score

We ran a lot of Nickel this drive.  It's doing nothing... UMass is just playing throw and catch on a lot of plays, a lot of outs that are just uncontested.   We do not have the DB talent to be doing this. When we do run 3-4, the LBs are overpursuing.   UMass just marches down field for a TD.

Vanderbilt Ball, 1st and 10, VANDY 47, ~6:00, UMass 7 - VU 0

Webb starts the drive getting us 2 first downs on 3 runs.  Not only that, our OL seems much better at run blocking.  First throw Freebeck has this drive is picked off and it's inexcusable, stared down the WR, a FR mistake.

UMass Ball, 4th and 5, UMass 47, ~4:20, UMass 7 - VU 0

If I didn't already know we won this game, I'd be flipping tables.  What the hell are we doing on these 3rd and 4th conversions?  52 yard touchdown pass is bad enough, but this is just unacceptable.  Everyone in the stadium seemed to see this fake coming, but we didn't.  We went for the block.... A+

UMass, a 3 TD underdog, is UP two scores

Vanderbilt Ball, 4th and 6, VANDY 39, ~2 minutes, UMass 14 - VU 0

We do a QB draw.  WHAT THE HELL?  A draw doesn't work when you can't pass!  What. The.  Sighhhhhh.  Freebeck hit for a loss because of course.

UMass Ball, 3rd and 3, UMass 19, ~10 seconds, UMass 14 - VU 0

We made the stop.  Woo. If our defense was able to cover more than a HMO, we'd be able to be good.

END 1st

There's nothing good to take from this game aside from our DL is pretty good and our OL does well on the run block

2nd Quarter

Robinette is in!!!

Vanderbit Ball, 2nd and GOAL, UMass 0.5, ~10:20, UMass 14 - VU 0

Robinette is so obviously the guy we should have gone with.  I realize the Temple game was a disaster, but he's still obviously the best QB.  He gets the throws to their targets which makes the DC have to address the pass attack, which gives Webb lanes.  It's offense 101.  The general gets us a well-needed TD on a QB sneak after Webb is robbed of it on a 6 yard run.  By the way, this drive that worked? NOT WEST COAST AT ALL.

KICKOFF to UMass, ~9:50. UMass 14 - VU 7

Because we're Vanderbilt, we decide that nothing can be easy and don't cover our lanes at all. Umass returns the kickoff to the Vandy 23.

UMass Ball, 1st and 10, Vandy 14, ~7:00, UMass 17 - VU 7

Adam Butler is super happy and there's nothing quite like a happy fat man wearing #69 scoring a TD.

We of course try a 2pc and fail.  Was this the miscommunication one?  I don't remember.

UMass Ball, 3rd and 10, VANDY 37, ~4:10, UMass 17 - VU 13

Our defense in a nutshell - stop them, but let up the big play on the down that matters.  That's scary, not encouraging.  The first two downs are setup for 3rd, and we're getting set up every time

Vanderbilt Ball, 2nd and GOAL, UMass 3, ~??, UMass 24 - VU 13

This drive is partly due to UMass generously giving us 3 penalties, but it's still how we should be running our offense.  We moved well, we moved with urgency, we moved with authority.  We did the two minute drill and got it done.  Robinette is 4/4 on the throws, Webb gets his carries, it's just all around a good offense.  Scheu brings down a pass with no one near him for at least 10 yards on a QB bootleg.

END HALF

HALFTIME UMass 24 - VU 20

We were terrible to start but that's because we weren't playcalling properly at all.  We need to be a ball control team.

3rd QUARTER

UMass Ball, 2nd and GOAL, VANDY 2, ~11:00 Minutes, UMass 24 - VU 20

We're terrible on third down, but REALLY bad on third and long.  For some reason, on third and long we decide to give up a third of the field or more.  The secondary is as disciplined as a Tennessee buttchugging contest right now, 2 DPIs that drive.

UMass Ball, 4th and 7, UMass 23, ~5:20, UMass 31 - VU 20

A three and out, you know, what we should have been doing all game.  Defense must've put away the Franzia because they actually were disciplined.

Vanderbilt Ball, 4th and 9, UMass 47, ~3:00, UMass 31 - VU 20

The cripple fight part of the game is here... not nearly as entertaining as Timmy v Jimmy.

UMass, 3rd and 10, UMAss 41, ~30 seconds, UMass 31 - VU 20

After a designed 12 yard QB draw, UMass QB who cares what his name is coughs the ball up and Stephen Weatherly decides to take matters into his own hands.  Runs it to the house for a TD.  The refs decide that the Vanderbilt rule is in effect and therefore the TD is overturned.

4th Quarter

UMass Ball, 4th and 7, VANDY 48, ~14:00, UMass 31 - VU 20

Can we stop with this nickel all the time?  Yeah, we're getting beat in the air, but that's because we don't have the DBs.  Just throwing more bodies out there doesn't do much if they can't cover the field.

Vanderbilt Ball, 4th and 19, MIDFIELD, ~10:30, UMass 31 - VU 20

We're gonna try for it 4th and 14, but another penalty because why not?

UMass Ball, 4th and 4, UMass 26, ~9:00, UMass 31 - VU 20

Stephen Weatherly has had enough of you, Vanderbilt offense, and frankly so have I.  Weatherly just breezes past everyone, no one even looks at him on his way to block the kick and picks it up for the TD

Vanderbilt Ball, 4th and 1, UMass 26, ~5:00, UMass 31 - VU 26

Joe Townsend holds for like the first time in his life.  The sad part is it's the nonsense form of holding where you just follow the man to the ground, not holding a guy from making a play.  It was a beautiful QB sweep too.  Would have been first.

Vanderbilt Ball, 4th and 12, UMass 37, ~4:30, UMass 31 - VU 26

Trey Wilkins comes down with an amazing catch, but it's unfortunately 2 yards shy of the sticks.

UMass Ball, 4th and 13, UMass 25, ~2:10, UMass 31 - VU 26

This is the fifth straight punt we've forced from UMass, and like the fourth straight 3 and out.  The defense isn't perfect but it's getting the job done which is all I ask at the moment.  The secondary is covering their guys long enough for the big guys to disrupt... about damned time.

Vanderbilt Ball, 1st and 10, UMass 40, ~1:40, UMass 31 - VU 26

Oh CJ Duncan, we shall miss you this year.

Vanderbilt Ball, 1st and 10, UMass 4, ~1:00, UMass 31 - VU 26

It's fitting for Webb to get the TD.  Duncan did the lion's share of the work on this drive, with 49 yards off two catches, but Webb is like 90% of the offense so...

UMass Ball, 4th and 4, UMass 46, ~45 seconds, VU 34 - UMass 31

I knew a guy who'd routinely say "Pre-vent defense pre-vents you from winning the game".  He also flipped over a literal treasure chest once and scratched up the floor to his home.  That's about how I feel right now.

UMass Ball, 3rd and Goal, VANDY 5, ~3 seconds, VU 34 - UMass 31

In theory, I shouldn't be laughing at a missed chip shot FG that won us this game.  In practice, I am because lol Vince Taylor you own.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Again, our secondary is the biggest problem on defense.  No question our defense is the stronger unit, but we're lacking the talent and discipline we need.  Far too many 3rd and 4th down conversions, and it's almost always for 20+ yards.  Inexcusable.